The Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) has issued a contempt notice to Revenue Secretary Sunil Mitra for non-compliance of its order regarding promotion of an Indian Revenue Service (IRS) to the post of Chief Income Tax Commissioner.
A CAT Bench of Meera Chhibber and L.K. Joshi on July 1 ordered Mitra “to be personally present on the next date (July 12) and explain why the directions of this Tribunal have not been complied with".
Taking a serious note of the non-compliance, the Bench said, “It is apparent that the respondents (Mitra and two others) are willfully disregarding the directions of this Tribunal."
However, the CAT said if its directions were complied with before the next date, “it would not be necessary for Shri Sunil Mitra to be personally present."
The contempt notice was issued on a petition filed by Income Tax Commissioner
V.K. Singhal, an IRS officer of 1976 batch, after his counsel Pramod Gupta complained that Mitra and Central Board of Direct Taxes Chairman S.S.N. Moorthy and DOPT Establishment Officer P.K. Mishra “willfully and deliberately disobeyed and violated the directions” of the tribunal contained in the order dated December 17, 2009.
Singhal had moved the CAT last year against non-inclusion of his name in the panel for promotion to the post of Chief Commissioner of Income Tax in the scale of 67,000 to 79,000 while his juniors were considered for the promotion. This was allegedly done on the basis of Singhal’s un-communicated Annual Confidential Report for the year 2003-04.
Acting on Singhal’s petition, the CAT on December 17, 2009 ordered that his case for promotion to the post of Chief Commissioner of Income Tax should be considered “as expeditiously as possible and preferably within a period of four weeks from the date of receipt of a certified copy of the order.”
The certified copy of the order dated December 17, 2009 was served on the respondents, including Mitra on December 24, 2009.
On the plea of the respondents, on January 25, this year the CAT extended the time for complying with its directions by six weeks and clarified that no further time would be given.
Singhal’s counsel Pramod Gupta pointed out that the period of six weeks from January 25, 2010 expired on March 9, 2010 but the tribunal’s order had not been implemented.
On behalf of the respondent government officials, advocate V.S.R. Krishna told the CAT Bench that its order had already been challenged before the Delhi High Court. He, however, conceded that there was no stay order issued by the court.
Noting that notice had not been issued yet by the HC, the CAT said: “Still, on this pretext the compliance of the direction is being stalled.”